2011-10-28 / Top Stories

Of 8 Rockaway High Schools, Only 3 Rated

Original High Schools All But Gone
By Howard Schwach

For more than 80 years, the Rockaway peninsula was served by one large comprehensive high school – Far Rockaway High School.

Then, along came Beach Channel High School to take up the slack by educating the students from the west end of the peninsula as well as those who were pointing towards oceanography as a career.

Now, those two schools are all but gone, replaced by seven smaller schools, each with its own administration, staff and students and each with its own theme; as well as by a gifted magnet grade 6 through 12 program at what was once JHS 180 – and is now the Scholars’ Academy.

Now, according to the Department of Education, there is no Far Rockaway High School, which has been replaced by the Far Rockaway Educational Campus, made up of three smaller high schools – Frederick Douglass VI Academy, Academy of Medical Technology, and the Queens High School for Information, Research and Technology as well as a middle school called Knowledge As Power Preparatory Academy (KAPPA VI). The middle school was not rated this week.

And, Beach Channel High School, which has two more years to live, has been largely replaced by three schools; The Channel View School For Research (6- 12), the Rockaway Park High School for Environmental Sustainability and the new Rockaway Collegiate Academy. Of the eight existing schools, only three have been rated for this year, under the theory that the smaller schools are not rated until their third year of operation.

Far Rockaway High School was not rated because it ceased to exist last June. Beach Channel High School was not rated because it is in the process of being phased out.

That leaves three of the remaining eight schools with ratings for 2010-2011. Those ratings were issued as school report cards on Monday.

Both Scholars’ Academy and Channel View School for Research received an A grade. Frederick Douglass AcademyVIreceivedaCgrade.

None of the other five schools received a letter grade because they are all either in the first or second year of operation, or being phased out.

High school Progress Report grades are based on student attendance rates, progress toward graduation, graduation rates, and the results of parent, student and teacher surveys.

According to Department of Education statistics, about a third of the city’s high schools received an A grade; another third got a B; a quarter got C’s; eight percentaDandfourpercentanF.

Progress Report Cards give each school an overall letter grade based on three categories: school environment (15 percent of the grade), student performance (25 percent), and student progress (60 percent).

“School environment” includes the results of surveys taken by more than 920,000 parents, students, and teachers last spring, as well as student attendance rates. “Student performance” measures graduation outcomes and rewards schools based on the rigor of the requirements for receiving a diploma. “Student progress” measures how well schools are helping students progress towards graduation by amassing course credits and passing Regents exams. Schools that do an exemplary job in closing the achievement gap between white and minority students and between regular and special education students can earn additional credit.

Three-fourths of a school’s Progress Report score comes from comparing the school’s results to the 40 or so other high schools in the City serving the most similar student populations. The remaining one-fourth of the school’s score is based on a comparison with all high schools citywide.

This year, for the first time, the report cards reflect the percentage of graduates who are ready to do college work or to go on to the workforce.

State reports last year said that only a quarter of those students who graduate from city high schools are ready to move on.

The new report cards say that 90 percent of those who graduate from Scholars’ Academy are ready for higher education or the world of work. The other two schools fare much worse.

According to their progress reports, only 24.8 percent of those who graduate from Channel View School for Research and 26.7 percent of those who graduate from Frederick Douglass Academy VI are ready to move on to higher education or to the workforce, slightly better than the city as a whole, where 21.5 percent are ready to move on.

Schools that receive a grade of D, F, or a third consecutive C on the Progress Report and schools that receive a rating below “proficient” on the Quality Review are considered for intensive support or intervention or may be closed, according to a DOE spokesperson.

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